Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Color Fred, "Bend to Break"

The Color Fred
"Bend to Break"
(Equal Vision)

Fresh from leaving the wildly successful Taking Back Sunday, Fred Mascherino finally goes for self with his long running solo project, The Color Fred. It's difficult to gauge what to expect since even though Mascherino holds a degree in Jazz Guitar, he's also spent years sinking his teeth into bands like TBS, Brody and massively underrated Breaking Pangaea.

For "Bend to Break," TCF's debut, there isn't much of a stretch in terms of experimentation. It's a very straight forward power-pop record, but for all his shredding, Mascherino is also an excellent pop songwriter, which makes "Bend to Break" a pretty solid record. This is very apparent on "If I Surrender" and "Empty House." The former could easily pass off as a commercial or buffer music on an MTV show, while the latter is a painful ballad that could be a surprise hit for TCF.

Moreover, it's Mascherino's themes throughout the album -- pain, disappointment, occasional bits of joy -- are fairly transparent and offer up more a troubadour vibe, versus the last Taking Back Sunday record, "Louder Now," which was more emotionally ambiguous when compared to earlier works.

"Bend to Break" doesn't really stumble much. There's a bit of monotony in terms of musical arrangement, but the catchy aspects of each track more than make up for it, particularly when you listen to a song like "It Isn't Me," and you really just want to give the guy a hug.

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